For EDC Wholesale, 2016 has been an exciting, eventful, and extremely busy year. Getting the company started in the wholesale business, adding new private and third-party brands to the range, moving into new head offices, eroFame in October, and in between, the daily business of a wholesaling company. But it seems as though the hard work has paid off for the company seeing how the positive clearly outweighs the negative in our end-of-the-year review with Andre Visser, International Sales Director of EDC Wholesale.
It has been a while since you moved into your new headquarters. Have you settled in nicely? Are all the processes running smoothly?
Andre Visser: Like after every move, there will always be little things that need to be done. But nothing major. Prior to the move, we thought we would need four days to get everything sorted, but we were already up and running after three days. We definitely settled in nicely and all the processes are running smoothly.
How complicated is a change of location for a company with such an advanced IT structure and large product range?
Most of the work goes into preparation and we have been planning this big move for about a year, which enabled us to start with the preparations long before the actual move by assembling teams who were responsible for certain tasks. We have been planning and testing everything, we didn’t leave anything to chance.
It would have been a major disaster if we didn’t get the systems ready in time. But with the right people in the right places, we managed to get the job done. We are very proud of the EDC team, everybody participated in the success of the company’s transition to the new warehouse.
Andre Visser and Eric Idema in front of the newly opened EDC building in Veendam, Netherlands
Did eroFame meet your expectations? Did the trade convention help you further cement your position in the market?
eroFame definitely met our expectations and even exceeded them. I already had a feeling we would have a good show, but we never expected it to be this great. Without exaggerating, we were meeting customers all day long, from start till end. Visitors were curious about our company switch, the company EDC Wholesale – for those who didn’t know about it already- and of course the products.
We received marvelous feedback on our current collections, but even more so on the newest collections. This has definitely helped us strengthen our position in the market. We were very honoured to receive all the wonderful compliments for our new collections; it showed us that we are on the right track, and to receive this type of recognition is also the cherry on top of the cake.
How did trade and industry respond to the new products you presented at the show in Hanover?
As mentioned above, everybody raved about the new collections. Sway Vibes was already released in August, but not everybody had seen the products or taken it on. The eroFame visitors got a chance to experience the products and to see for themselves how powerful these wands are.
We received positive feedback on the silicone material, the power of the 2 motors -1 in the shaft and 1 the wand- and the interesting price range. MyMagicWand was first introduced at the show and received great responses for the heavy pulsation of the motor, without any vibrations in the shaft. The responses on the newest editions of the EasyToys Fetish Collection were also tremendous. Visitors raved about the price, products, and beautiful packaging. Customers even pre-ordered to be certain they would receive the product right from the first delivery. By now, the new products have been released and the resell results are amazing.
Since June, your company has made quite a name for itself in the wholesale segment. What is your explanation for this success?
I think we owe our success to being a young, innovative, and flexible company. The trade knows the established players in the field and are looking for something new and exciting to benefit from. EDC Wholesale goes where no one else has gone; think global, act local.
We think about the possibilities and processes of each individual customer. If you are not the creator of We-Vibe or the womanizer, you need to be innovative in other fields and that is exactly what we do. We also see a shift in the customer structure. Online has become an increasingly important aspect for the sale of erotic products, including the digital links that come with it. EDC Wholesale understands this process better than most.
“The trade knows the established players in the field and are looking for something new and exciting to benefit from.”
The wholesale segment of the adult market is known to be comparatively stable, with many long-established players. How hard is it to gain a foothold in a market where the pie is already divvied up?
I certainly agree that the established players have earned their stripes in this industry, but the majority of the trade is looking for something different. It’s not easy to take on the competition by offering something different, but it wouldn’t be a good thing if it was because then everybody would be doing it, hahaha
For years, we’ve seen the traditional supply chain (producer-wholesaler-retailer) come apart, so right now, getting into the wholesale business seems a little risky. Weren’t you worried about these developments?
No, not at all. Unfortunately, we also see the decrease in brick and mortar retailing, but on the other hand, we see a tremendous growth in e-commerce. EDC has a great knowledge of everything that comes with e-commerce, therefore, we actually understand the needs of our customers and speak their language. In the digital world, it is of great importance to multitask.
Your product range is comprised of renowned third party products and private brands such as EasyToys. What’s the concept behind this mix?
Naturally, we want to offer our clients an overall concept and as a wholesaler, you need to offer a wide assortment and be a one-stop-shop for your customers. EasyToys is also part of this assortment, and we are very proud to have introduced this brand into the market. EasyToys originated from a wish Eric had to create his own brand. And our in-house design team made it possible. We see EasyToys growing in shops and online across many countries in Europe and also worldwide.
EDC Wholesale had a successful eroFame, with an EAN Award as the icing on the cake
Which criteria come to bear when you a) add new third-party brands to your range, and b) when you develop new private brands or add products to existing private brands?
It’s all about supply and demand. As a wholesaler, you have to offer 3rd party brands. You could compare it to McDonalds where they always have hamburgers and fries in their assortment. It’s the same with a wholesaler’s assortment. But when it comes to 3rd party brands, we are always looking for special products, a new pearl in the industry, and we have found many of them. You just need to know where to look. Our house brands are also set up according to the current supply and demand strategy.
One needs to listen to customer demand and the trends in the market. It’s even better to predict and analyse these trends before they occur. We are planning to do so in 2017 when we introduce a new line to our overall concept in Q1. Keep an eye on the website and our newsletters.
You stated that you want to expand your product range in both of these areas, third-party as well as first-party. What are your plans?
As mentioned before, we will continue to add 3rd party brands (hamburgers and fries) and also look for new pearls to offer an interesting assortment to our customers. And we will continue to develop our current house brands and design new house brands. We have some exciting things up our sleeve for 2017.
“It’s all about supply and demand. As a wholesaler, you have to offer 3rd party brands.”
A few weeks ago, it was announced that you made some adjustments to your customer service. For instance, you are now providing longer sales service. How did the customers respond to these changes? What role does customer service play in the wholesale segment?
The longer hours of our customer service have had a positive effect on our company. Today’s retailer demands extra service and we are able to offer it in this form. Our customer service is open till 23:30h, which means that customers can place their orders till 23.30h, 7 days a week.
2016 is almost over. What are EDC’s resolutions for 2017?
Looking back on 2016, we can say it was a tremendous year for EDC Wholesale. We have been growing in every aspect, with the opening of our new warehouse, the expansion of our partners and the growth of our baby EasyToys. We will continue on this trajectory in 2017 and focus on further expanding and stabilising. We are looking forward to the new year and we will look for new opportunities to develop our business and find ways to reach out to our (future) customers.
Do you expect big changes and developments in the adult market over the course of the next few years?
I definitely expect big changes in the adult market in the years to come. Sales will continue to shift to e-commerce. Offering customers the perfect mix of great products and service will be the new way to compete. We have already experienced this change in the last view years at EDC, so we can make a reasonable prediction of what to expect and how to adjust. Last but not least, we would like to take the opportunity to wish all our clients, colleagues, journalists, partners and vendors a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and healthy 2017.